Life Updates

My surgery to reattach my intestines and get rid of my colostomy bag is in less than 2 weeks, on Wednesday, October 25th. I am definitely nervous about it. Everything from getting an IV to having my intestines reattached and eating afterward without ripping my intestines apart, to the pain after surgery.  I am afraid of the IV because nurses tend to have a really bad time getting an IV in me and I have to be stuck several times. When that fails, they may try to give me a midline, which is painful. I’ll find out this Thursday at my pre surgery appointment what the guidelines are for me eating, but whenever I’m allowed to eat I’m going to be afraid of a whole lot of pain and torn intestines. I am also going to miss food, as I’m guessing I won’t be able to eat for awhile. And  I am dreading the pain when I wake up from surgery. I was in a lot of pain when I woke up from the surgery that gave me my colostomy bag, and this is supposed to be more major surgery than that.

At the same time, I am so thrilled that I won’t have to live with a colostomy bag anymore. I just have to get through this surgery (well, possibly two more surgeries depending on how things go) and I will be back to normal. I am so excited that I am counting down the days.

I’ve been busy the past couple of weeks. I’ve spent a lot of time hanging with friends and reading. I am excited about my new secret sister. I’m in a group that just started a secret sister swap. You get a name and address and some basic information about the person, and then you send them little cards and gifts. You also pray for them. In April you find out who your secret sister was. I need to get creative with my little gifts.

I am taking a break from writing and instead focusing on reading and researching. It refreshes me. You can’t take water from a dry well, or withdraw from a bank account you haven’t been depositing in. Well, I have withdrawn and withdrawn from my creative account and now it is time to make some deposits by reading.

Angelica’s 4th birthday was on October 4. We had her party on Sunday the 8th. Vicki and Joel, my inlaws, came to town for it and my parents and my sister were there too. My parents brought a pinata and she had a blast with it. She has been munching on the candy all week. She loves all her gifts.

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Signs

Last night Craig was sleeping with his head on my shoulder and I just realized I’ve been given a second chance at life. In another generation having diverticulitis and a hole in your intestines would be a death sentence. Your intestines would leak and you would get sepsis and die. But modern medical technology, as gross as this bag is, allows me to have a second chance to live my life and be with my husband. And that’s a beautiful thing because I can’t imagine being without him. And I can’t imagine leaving him alone to spend his days and nights by himself and raise our daughter alone.

Nonetheless I woke up this morning depressed by my bag. As I was sitting on the sofa feeling tired and depressed, Angelica randomly brought me one of my Bible devotionals. It was open to a page about guardian angels and I realized there’s an angel around me. I’m not alone. I have an angel watching over me. It gives me some comfort.  Maybe my guardian angel was convincing me to go to the hospital on the day my intestines opened up. I was in pain, but I couldn’t imagine that anything was seriously wrong so I was on the fence about going to the hospital. I almost didn’t go. If I hadn’t my intestines might have leaked and I would have had sepsis and died. I can’t imagine leaving Angelica motherless.

Later on I opened the devotional myself to a random page and the page landed on was about trials and tribulations. It was about God rewarding you at the end of a trial. This is a trial to me. But if I can get through this I will be rewarded with abundant life when it is over – if I draw closer to God.

It’s funny how these devotionals can really speak to you and just the way you need in times of stress and duress. It’s the workings of God.

In The Hospital Since Sunday

I have been in the hospital since Sunday. We were in Chapel Hill eating lunch on our way back from Tennessee when I was hit by acute abdominal pain in my lower right stomach.

Then we went to the Mapleview Creamery and I felt so bad I couldn’t eat my ice cream.  We left a few minutes later, and I spent the car ride East doubled over and running a fever. By the time we were to Elizabeth City, I decided to go to the ER before going home.

They thought I had appendicitis and did a CT scan. Instead the doctor found I had Diverticulitis  (infection of a pocket in the intestine) and a small hole in my intestine. They admitted me and I have been here since.

It seemed like I was getting better on Wednesday, so they pulled me off IV  antibiotics and IV fluids, gave me oral antibiotics , and gave me permission to drink milkshakes and other non clear liquids.

I drank a shake that Craig bought for me and about 15 minutes later I was in absolute agony. It got so bad they had to give me a double dose of painkiller. I was yelling and crying. It hurt worse than when I had gallstones. So much pain. Then on top of that I started getting really thirsty and I was drinking so many fluids but I was still parched and sick. Apparently all the flu and I’m drinking is going to the inflammation in my stomach so now they have put me back on IV antibiotics and IV fluids and I’m definitely not going home this weekend. I’m sad about this because my wedding anniversary is on Sunday. I really want to go out with Craig. And I miss the baby. My parents have been taking good care of her and I really appreciate it but I miss having her around. Hanging around a hospital is really difficult for a three-year-old though, so I don’t want her to have to do that.

Gratitude, Meds, Creativity

My mood dropped a lot last night. I didn’t even finish my hot bath.  I have been uneven lately. I think my antidepressant is starting to burn out. To ward off any deep plunges, I did take double the dose a couple of times last week and that raised me up. But as soon as I stopped taking double I dropped again (yesterday). My antidepressants periodically burn out on me and I have to switch to something different. I am going to ask when I see my psychiatrist on Wednesday. Until then I will be taking double doses to keep myself going and functional and creative. Last night I asked Craig to wake me up before he went to work this morning just long enough for me to take my antidepressants early so that they would kick in by the time it was time for me to get up. The plan worked so I intend to try again. Maybe this can help keep my mood stable and help me wake up earlier in the morning. When antidepressant kicks in it energizes me. So it may be that by taking it at 6 something in the morning I’ll be awake by 8 or 9.

To help boost my mood, and because it is always a good practice, I want to list some things I am grateful for.

1. My mother and father. I am so glad they are in my life. They are wonderful parents and grandparents.

2. My sister. She is a good sister and a great aunt to Angelica.

3. Taco Bell. What can I say? I like their cheese quesadillas.

4. That I live in Hampton Roads where the Mexican restaurants have that white dip.

5. My library. It is a privilege and a pleasure to own a library full of books.

6. My cute yellow cottage. My house is perfect for me and my family. Perfect look, perfect size, perfect design, and for my husband, the perfect location.

7. Plus size stores. Plus size clothing options are still limited, but I know that there is a lot more available today than what there used to be.

8. That I got my car back Saturday from having work done on it since that lady crashed into me.

9. I am grateful to live in a time where there is so much art and music and literature readily available.

10. I am grateful to be short. I just like being petite.

Today I am at the library studying African poetry. Some countries I love. Others not as much. Overall though, I thoroughly enjoy African poetry and this Penguin volume of poetry from each country in Africa is quite educating for me. As usual, reading poetry inspires me to write poetry so I have been getting a lot of writing done. I will post that writing here, though I am not certain some of it is so good. But it feels good to create and be mentally active. Plus, I don’t want to lose any of my work and I use this blog to archive it so I need to post my poetry.

 

 

Crappy Friend, Dirty Animals

This morning (Thursday) I was a totally crappy friend. One of my friends was throwing a birthday party for another one of my friends and I slept right through it. This constant sleeping is really a problem. I feel so bad. And my friend only lives across the street so it’s not like I had some big journey to get there. I literally had to roll out of bed, throw on a dress, and walk across the street.

I am ashamed of myself. The get-together was early, being from 9 to 11, but that’s not that early. It’s not like it was a 6 a.m. breakfast or something. Craig is going to be home tomorrow and I am asking him to wake me up at 7 or 8. I must start getting up earlier. I’m just so out of it in the morning that I sleep straight through alarms. Craig has been trying to help me get up earlier but this morning he forgot. And at any rate I need to get myself to where I can wake up at a reasonable hour without any help because waking me up is not his job. It just goes to show how hard it is to wake up when I have something in the morning that I want to go do and I sleep right through it. It’s not like I was waking up to filing my taxes. I was waking up to going to a get together with friends. That’s something I look forward to. And I still slept right through it.

Today we bought a steam cleaner and went to the condo to steam clean the rooms that are carpeted. I have definitely learned a lesson in being a landlord. No dogs and no cats allowed. The room that belonged to the tenant with the dog and the cat was so much dirtier then the other tenants’ room. We were renting to a married couple and the wife’s friend. The friend had the dog and the cat and the carpet where her bed was sitting is still so nice and pristine. The rest of the carpet is just permanently darker even after steam cleaning. The carpet in the other room doesn’t look like that.

The fact is that dogs and cats, especially dogs, make houses dirty and some people that own them do not do the cleaning necessary to keep up with the animals. Dogs go in and out of the house all day and track in mud and dog poop and debris. They also lick themselves and rub on to the carpet. They are dirty animals. If you have an exceptionally clean person you may not notice that, as they will be regularly vacuuming and steam cleaning and mopping for themselves. But overall dogs make for dirty carpets.

We steam cleaned to the best of our ability and we’re going to steam clean again tomorrow. So we will be turning over clean carpets to the buyer. Having a dog in the house significantly shortened the life of the carpet though. It isn’t a big deal, but when I rent out my yellow house next year I know that I do not want to accept people with dogs or cats. No pets allowed except maybe small ones. This is also because while we were trying to show the house the girl who owned the dog kept not wanting to show the house and saying it was too hard for her because she didn’t have a place to put her dog and her dog has crate anxiety. I shouldn’t not be able to show my house because of an animal and it almost came to that more than once. It was a constant battle, even with 24 hours notice and a monthly rebate on rent for showing the house in good condition. 

I posted about this problem in a landlords group online and I got interesting responses. People who were not dog owners, and a few reasonable people that were, sided with me and said that the tenant needs to be willing to show the house with the legally mandated 24 hour notice, and that their dog is their problem. They are lucky to be allowed pets at all. We didn’t even charge a pet deposit. But all the dog lovers jumped in and said how I should be willing to pay for doggie daycare then ( I guess on top of the rental rebate I was offering for showing the house nicely, something I didn’t have to do), and that you can’t expect a dog with anxiety to stay in a crate. They even said if I have to have the unit sitting empty for a few months (because of not being able to show the condo while the tenants live there because of the dog) and pay the mortgage myself and lose thousands of dollars so that her dog and her don’t have to be inconvenienced I should be okay with that. I thought that landlording was a business  but apparently  it’s animal comfort first  and money second. It really taught me a lot about these animal lover people and I just don’t want to rent to them. Explanations to these people that someone else’s dog should not cost me potentially thousands of dollars in lost rent or a lost sale goes right over their heads. But…but…cute puppy!…..but it is scared of the crate….but it is time consuming to have someone come home and walk the dog…awww look its tail is wagging.        Don’t care.

Never again.  Having animals on my property is a privilege, not a right. If it is going to inconvenience me or cost me money I am not going to do it. Never again will I be yelled at by a tenant because I am inconveniencing a dog. If it can’t stay in a crate it can’t stay in my house. I will not have someone else’s dog become my problem.

Swollen Bones

Today I went to the podiatrist to get the results of my MRI. I am still having pain when I walk and when I take the stairs. He said the basically my bones are swelling. I’m not sure how that works. In the notes from the people who did my MRI it said that it looks like I may still have a bone infection, but the doctor doesn’t think so. He gave me a cortisone shot in my ankle joint. Let me tell you that is not pleasant. He froze my foot first with this can of cold air so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been but it definitely hurt. He stuck that needle there and put a whole bunch of cortisone in. My foot is still swollen.

When I got home I hung out with a friend and we watched the movie Passengers. I haven’t seen it before. It was really good. It would have been nice to see it in theaters. Definitely a worthwhile movie to watch.

We have an offer on the condo! For the past two years we have been landlords with a condo in Virginia Beach. This time around we didn’t want to keep the condo so we put it on the market for sale and someone has given us an offer. So if everything goes well will be selling it. Of course it could fall through and we’ll have to sell to someone else or be landlords again, but I think everything is going to work out.

Being a landlord hasn’t been bad, although it has been stressful recently with coordinating showings around the tenants. But we do have quiet tenants that have always paid on time.  But in January when we move to Colorado we are already going to be landlords for our little yellow house here in Moyock. We didn’t want to be landlords of two properties from such a long distance. A lot can go wrong and it can get expensive.

It will be hard to finally say bye to the condo. It was the first home that Craig ever bought, and it was the first home of our married lives. It’s the house we brought the baby back to when she was a newborn. It definitely has a lot of sentimental value. But you can’t make business decisions based purely on sentimental value and having too many rental properties when we’re going to be halfway across the country is a big liability. Someday we might go into the landlording business but I don’t think we want to do that until we are more settled. And even then it is only a maybe.

 

 

Sad Mornings

Lately I just can’t seem to feel any joy in the mornings. I don’t know why. I always have a good day to look forward to. But lately not only am I having a hard time waking up, I’m having a hard time getting up and getting going when I do finally wake up. I feel neither the urgency of the things I need to do nor the anticipation of the things I want to do. Instead I feel just sort of empty and low. I want to curl up in a ball and just stay still for the day. When I do finally get going I am okay, but I just haven’t been feeling my best in the mornings. I hope my mood is not starting to dip, as usually having a hard time getting out of bed is a sign that it is dropping. And today at lunch I actually had anxiety, which I haven’t had in a few weeks.

However I feel, I need to get more done during the day and I also want to make the most of and enjoy my mornings. So I need to come up with a plan to get me going earlier, and get me eager to start my day. I have a good life, so getting up in the morning should be something I look forward to.

Starting tomorrow, I’m going to do several things to change my mornings. I’m going to set my alarm using an app called Alarm Clock Xtreme. The app settings allow you to require yourself to solve math problems of varying degrees of difficulty in order to snooze the alarm or turn it off. I’m hoping this forcing function of getting me to use my tired brain in the morning will force me to truly wake up. I’ve set the alarm for 8:02. Let’s see what time I wake up.

Now for the motivating myself to get out of bed part. I’m going to start setting daily checklists in my color note app in my color note calendar that will have reminders that pop up and show me what I need to do.  If that doesn’t help I’ll try Evernote or some other scheduling apps that might give me reminders of things I need and want to do. I’m hoping that just seeing a list of what I need and want to accomplish will help motivate me to get out of bed. I like Colornote because of the ease of use factor and because of all the rainbow colors it lets you use.

I’m going to try and start incorporating scripture in to my morning. Scripture can be so energizing and inspiring and it is the perfect way to start the day. So after making sure the baby has what she needs, and after letting the bunny out, I will dive into the Word. The Bible reminds me to take care of my family, my home, and myself – reminders I need when I’m not doing my best. And if the alarm I’m using to wake up actually works I should be awake early enough for once to have the chance to start the day with scripture.

Beyond that, I’m open to ideas. What can I do to dramatically change my mornings and my perspective on them? How can I take my mornings from unproductive and blah to creative and electric?

Craig is Home

Craig got home on Friday and we got to pick him up around noon. It has been so nice having him here. Angelica actually thinks he lives on the ship, and whenever he has to go to the ship she says he’s going home. Today we went to the ship for Craig to offload the rest of his stuff from his stateroom and she asked if daddy was going home. We try to explain to her that Daddy lives with us and just works on the ship, but after the last big deployment that doesn’t really seem to sink in with her and she’s quite sure Craig lives on the Eisenhower! It’s cute and sad at the same time.

We stayed in for most of the weekend, but today we went to Steak N Shake in Virginia Beach. I love that place. Forget my previous post about dieting. You can’t diet when the possibility of Steak N Shake exists. The diet will have to wait for another day. I got the shooter trio with two garlic burgers with cheese, and one cajun burger with cheese. Then I got an orange creamsicle milkshake. Delicious.

Parsnip is settling in to family life quite well. He apparently got out of his enclosure last night and Craig found him waiting patiently outside the enclosure this morning, wanting to get back in to get to his food and water. I don’t know whether he leaped over the side or  if he squeezed out because I didn’t have it secure enough. If he could squeeze out though you’d think he could squeeze back in, which makes me wonder if he jumped out and maybe had a hard time clearing that height. But at any rate he was not destructive even though he was by himself out of his enclosure for who knows how long, and today I even let him in the master bedroom and closet and bathroom, so now he has been everywhere except the FROG and laundry room.

I love it when he jumps up on the sofa to sit with me, and he grooms me and gives me kisses. He would have loved Jack. They are the best two bunnies ever. I’m so glad I found another companionable bunny. He makes the house more lively and cheerful. I always look forward to letting him out of his enclosure when I get home. He runs loose the whole time I’m home. He enjoys relaxing under the window behind the rocking chair in the library.

Angelica loves having him and is always petting him and feeding him. The first thing she does when I wake up in the morning is ask me to take him out. Getting a pet was definitely the right decision from her point of view as well. As I write, she’s playing with him.

Birth and NICU

Angelica spent a week in the NICU when she was born because her oxygen levels would sometimes drop. She would always recover on her own, but they kept her at CHKD for a week anyways, and didn’t help her. We had to fight to get her out of there. Now here she is 3 years later healthy and happy. These are a few pictures from her birth but mostly pictures in the NICU and right after she got out of the NICU.

Holding her in my arms…

So happy I made it through my pregnancy and got a beautiful baby girl in the end.

A perfect picture of my newborn baby and I.

My dad holding Angelica.

Grandpa and granddaughter!

In the NICU crib.

Daddy daughter lunch time.

Talk to the hand ’cause the face ain’t gonna listen.

Grandma and grandbaby!

Sleeping Beauty. God I still remember the way she smelled of formula. So precious.